Commemoration of the Day of mourning and hope

Every year, when the Day of mourning and hope on June 14th approaches, Lithuanian general education institutions are invited to commemorate the first deportations of the Lithuanians exercised by the Soviet occupation government in 1941 on the 14th of June. Based on the approved conclusions of the International Commission, about 17,500 people were deported from Lithuania during mass deportations in 1941. Among the deportees, there were 5060 children under the age of 16. Repressions were directed not at the destruction of individual people, but at the destruction of entire families. Once entire families were eliminated, their experience, social and cultural influence, accumulated for decades, had to disappear as well. The best part of professional groups, educated for two decades, had to vanish: officers, teachers, journalists, policemen etc.

The International Commission annually, since 2004, has been initiating civic initiatives to commemorate the Day of mourning and hope. Each year, a different symbol is suggested for the reference, which has links with the deportations of that time (e.g. “A suitcase”, “Doors”, “A bird of hope” etc.). The purpose of these initiatives is to encourage pupils to be active participants in the memorial events, to participate in a live lesson of the history, taking the opportunity to talk directly with former exiles and political prisoners. The aim is to foster historical memory and to promote an intergenerational dialogue during the events.